Speed Chess Changed My Brain

Mastering the three-minute game saw improved skills in unexpected places, from poker to planking.

The poker table was down to three players. I had a queen and a 10. It wasn’t the strongest hand, but I’d been analyzing my opponents’ playing patterns and knew I needed to send an aggressive signal. As soon as I saw the leader start to move, I went all in and pushed my pile of chips to the center of the table. Both folded. “You didn’t even give me a chance to finish my bet,” he exclaimed.

By the end of the three-day MBA Poker championship held earlier this year at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, I left with $1,000 in winnings. Yet what was even more satisfying was how I placed: I came in fifth out of 135 players Friday and third out of 35 players that Sunday.

Those rankings aren’t phenomenal, but they matter to me because of how much I improved. In the same tournament two years earlier, I had placed in the bottom half of players. Here’s the mysterious part: I had barely even played poker over the last year, let alone worked at elevating my game.

What I had played was chess. Specially, I knocked out some 2,000 games of speed (or “blitz”) chess in the two months leading up to the tournament. In fact, I played so much that I’m currently in the top half-percent of more than 1.3 million of blitz players at an online chess competition site. I’ve always thought of chess as my game, and I was ranked as a national master at age 16. I’d simply come to accept that I would always be an average poker player.

JUNE 24, 2013 | The Atlantic | Speed Chess Changed My Brain

City of Miami Beach Officially Recognizes the Armenian Genocide

The resolution was introduced by Miami Beach City Commissioner Mark Samuelian and passed unanimously.

“I am extremely proud of my Armenian heritage, and happy to have visited Armenia this summer and seen the wonderful countryside and its people. I commend the U.S. House of Representatives for condemning and recognizing the Armenian Genocide and proud of the City of Miami Beach for adopting this resolution,” Samuelian said in a statement to FLArmenians.com. “In addition, I congratulate the Armenian Genocide Committee, Inc. (AGC) for its efforts in commemorating the Armenian Genocide here in South Florida. This is a significant step in honoring the history of the Armenian people and their contributions,” Samuelian said.

In 2017, Samuelian became the first Armenian American elected official in Miami-Dade County history.

January 2, 2020 |  The Armenian Mirror-Spectator | City of Miami Beach Officially Recognizes the Armenian Genocide